Cancer and cancer treatment can cause tooth decay and other problems for the teeth and gums. Changes in eating habits also may add to the problem. If eating often or eating a lot of sweets, teeth may need to be brushed more often. Brushing after each meal or snack is a good idea.
Here are some ideas for preventing dental problems for the patient. Patients should:
1. Be sure to see their dentist regularly. Patients who are receiving treatment that affects the mouth (e.g., radiation to the head and neck) may need to see the dentist more often than usual.
2. Use a soft toothbrush. Ask the doctor, nurse or dentist to suggest a special kind of toothbrush and/or toothpaste if gums are very sensitive.
3. Rinse the mouth with warm water when the gums and mouth are sore.
4. If not having trouble with poor appetite or weight loss, limit the amount of sugar in the diet.
Lactose intolerance means that the body cannot digest or absorb the milk sugar called lactose. Milk, other dairy products, and foods to which milk has been added contain lactose.
Lactose intolerance may occur after treatment with some antibiotics or with radiation to the stomach or any treatment that affects the digestive tract. The part of intestine that breaks down lactose may not work properly during treatment. For some people the symptoms of lactose intolerance (gas, cramping, and diarrhea) disappear a few weeks or months after the treatments end or when the intestine heals. For others a permanent change in eating habits may be needed.
If having this problem, the doctor may advise to follow a diet that is low in foods that contain lactose. If milk had been a main source of protein in the patient’s diet, it will be important to get enough protein from other foods. Products such as soybean formulae and cheese are good sources of protein and other nutrients. The patient can also try soya milk.